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The Weekend Binge: "Mama: The Idol"

With the continued spread of hallyu and k-culture, there is definitely no shortage of idol groups to dazzle and entertain the masses. Just last year, 41 k-pop groups debuted—half of which are fresh-faced and sparkly girl groups. With no military enlistment to worry about, does this mean female k-idols have no deadline to rush and their career path is relatively clear of landmines? WRONG. Mama: The Idol (2022) makes viewers realize that while no deadlines exist for female k-idols, there is a very real and unpredictable end to their singing careers: motherhood.

The Synopsis

Viewers join Sung-ah (Jewelry), Kahi (After School), Byul (Ballad Singer), Eunji (Baby V.O.X. Re. V.), Jyuni (BellaMafia), and Sun-ye (Wonder Girls) as they aim to rediscover their passion for performing and re-debut as the first mom idols in South Korea. Together, they reminisce (and cry... so much crying) about their past and clear the challenges set by their mentors in the hopes for another chance to take the stage and perform for their fans.

Our Review

The Charisma just overflows, this is how you do a serious girl krush concept!

I will open this review by stating, I have regrets. I am regretful and frustrated that this show ONLY has eight episodes and only gives these women such a short time to promote themselves. What a mistake to make, tvN. If you could please fix it, that'd be great.

Now that my very short rant is over, let's talk about the show itself. Unique debut variety concepts are not new. In fact, Mama: The Idol is very much comparable to Sister’s Slam Dunk (2016, 2017) since it not only aims to debut a girl group, it also asks the members to undergo the whole training process to debut because of their unfulfilled dreams and lost opportunities.

Actually, I had to catch myself right there. Why did I think that "mom idols" was a unique concept? Is it because as a society, we've only ever seen moms as moms with their sole focus on their family? Is it the thought that once moms choose to become mothers, they give up a part of themselves to do so? Or is it the brat in me that thinks, "mom is uncool, so they can't be in a cool k-pop group!" Maybe my opinion is colored by all of these. It's food for thought.

Unapologetically witty AND vocally talented, Byul is definitely my bias!

But my opinions (and internal judgments) do not change the fact that before they were moms, they were known as explosive professional performers. I mean, nobody (nobody but you! just kidding) has forgotten Sun-ye's success as a member of the world famous, Wonder Girls (who could forget those flapper dresses and synchronized kicks?) or Kahi's powerful choreography in It's Me, or even Jung-ah's ET dance! These women were confident and charismatic—charisma that continues to ooze from their still non-existent pores.

Along the way to re-debuting, they are guided by top-notch professionals known for being veteran idol trainers which is hilariously offset by the comedic hosting of Hong Jin-kyung (Sister's Slam Dunk, 2017) and Woodz (Produce X 101, 2019). There's not much to review. It's a program that lets women take back the narrative of motherhood. Being a mom does not make you uncool and untalented; being a mom means you suddenly have advanced executive functioning skills AND (if you're them) you're also ready to show hoobaes what the concept "girl (women?) crush" is supposed to look like.

Overall, Mama: The Idol has comedy, explosive talent, and feels (so much feels... so much crying). A great watch this Women's Month! (side note, Happy Birthday to PacaMom).


STEAM IT: If you're a fan of any of these women! Also stream if you like heartwarming variety shows with sprinkles of unfiltered comedy.

SKIP IT: Please don't skip it. There's so much feels. But I guess if you're into game variety shows OR if you're expecting intensive training programs (like idol survival shows) then feel free to skip.

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